You will never find one complaint in all thirteen of Paul’s letters about the load of ministry work God gave him to carry or his trials and hardships. At the end of the list of what he endured in 2 Corinthians 11:23-29, Paul says, “And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches” (11:28).
What a beautiful example of a servant/shepherd! It was a “daily” responsibility that he carried because he saw the church as “one body” wherever it was gathered, anywhere in the world. Realistically, I realize that is an impossibility in our day, but we must not miss this principle in Paul’s life and ministry. But, are we too “program minded” rather than “Christ’s body minded”? The more God gives me the privilege to serve His church, the more He gives me a glimpse of His view of the church and His plan for it. It is universal and crosses cultural differences, languages, denominations and social-economic distinctions. My concerns are growing with “anxiety for all the churches” because I see so many elements that work against unity in the Spirit in the body (Ephesians 4:3). God wants to develop in us an eternal perspective regarding the church. He planned it in past eternity and purposed that it reflect His glory now and for eternity to come.
Where do we start if we want to follow Paul’s example and model? I do not think if happens by a sudden leap of heart and mind. We must continually ask the Holy Spirit to open and enlarge our hearts by seeing God’s purpose and plan for HIS WHOLE CHURCH, THE WHOLE BODY OF CHRIST! There is one thing certain, God has never changed His purpose and plan for His church because of our weaknesses or changing world conditions. We need to get on board with His plan!
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